Crafty: Homemade soda perfect for taste tweakers

Homemade soda
Put a homemade twist on Amurrica’s favorite beverage.

Fact: a project is way more fun if you can drink the final product. It seems like everyone today is brewing up small batches of beer while sipping on a glass of homemade kale-ginger juice. I’m personally all for this tasty trend, and wanting in on it, I decided to try my hand at homemade soda. Delicious factor high, risk factor low. When it comes to do-it-yourself drinks, homemade soda is going to land you right around 5 on the coolness scale (1 being almond milk and 10 being moonshine). But for what they lack in edginess, sodas make up for in versatility and fun. Crafting your own colas, rootbeers and fruity sodas at home is surprisingly easy. Move over craft beers—the homemade soda craze is near, I can feel it. And I’m taking credit.


Soda Pairing Ideas

Cherry Almond soda
Cherry soda extract + a few drops of almond extract

Lemon Basil Soda
Lemon soda extract + a few drops basil simple syrup

Lavender Ginger Ale
Ginger ale extract + a few drops lavender simple syrup

Chocolate Cream Soda
Cream soda extract + a few drops chocolate extract 

Champagne yeast
Sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
Soda concentrate
Glass bottles (or a growler with a tight
fitting cap)
Bottle caps and capper

Just Concentrate

To create anything from classic colas to spicy sarsaparilla sodas, pick up a homebrew concentrated extract. You can find soda concentrates, brewing yeasts, bottles and caps at the Iowa City Hy-Vee Drugstore (310 N. First Ave.). For a wider selection of goods, check out Midwest Supplies (

Sweeten the Deal

A big perk to brewing your own soda is control over the ingredients and taste. Looking to infuse your brews with extra flavor? Try adding a few drops of homemade simple syrups or flavored syrup (such as Torani—the kind you see in coffeeshops) to your batch. If you’re using a super sweet syrup—amaretto or chocolate, for example—try omitting about a quarter of the sugar. Wanting to whip up a more natural soda? Replace white sugar in your recipe with the same amount of honey.

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Get Guzzling

To make a gallon (about 10 bottles) of soda, dissolve a quarter teaspoon of champagne yeast in a cup of warm water for at least five minutes. Combine one tablespoon of soda extract, two cups of sugar or honey and any other flavoring you plan on using with enough warm water to dissolve the mixture. Stir in your yeast water and fill with warm water to make a full gallon. Fill your sterilized bottles, cap with a wing bottle capper and store in a cool, dark place. Your soda (and you) should be bubbly with excitement and ready to drink after about a week. Once the wait is over, go ahead—kick back, relax and crack open a crafty one.

Megan Ranegar is wondering where a homemade rootbeer float spiked with hand-crafted booze might land on this coolness scale.

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